15 May 2013

Wild Fennel Panna Cotta

It’s a very long time I don’t write a post: I’ve been very busy with preparing my Cookery School and Supper Club. But a blogger-friend asked me if I could make a recipe for a contest on wild herbs, knowing how passionate I am about this. So here I am, with a dessert made with wild fennel which I adore. I thought about making a very simple Panna Cotta flavoured with this extraordinary herb. Wild fennel gets amazing just cooked in a syrup. I chose raspberries but you can serve it also with strawberries: the acidity and freshness of fruits balances the velvety  sweetness of panna cotta. It is a  light dessert to serve after an elegant dinner.


Ingredients for 4 servings
400 ml of fresh liquid cream ( 30% of fat)
10 gr of jelly in sheets
150 gr of caster sugar
300 ml of water
A pinch of salt
250 gr of raspberries
Two branches of wild fennel washed and finely chopped

First of all prepare the syrup: put the water and sugar to boil, let cook slowly for about 15 mn or till the syrup begins to thicken and makes bubbles, add the fennel and switch off the fire. Let cool  and in the meantime prepare the panna cotta: pour the cream in a saucepan, add the pinch of salt and bring to boil, turn off the fire. Soak the gelatine in cold water till it gets soft, then drain it and add to the warm cream, mix very well and add 100 ml of the syrup you’ve prepared before. Stir to combine and pour in silicone moulds, refrigerate for at least 4 hours but you can keep it 1 or two days well covered with a film. Wash quickly the raspberries, put them in a bowl, add the syrup and  mix very gently. To serve: unmould the panna cotta, place in the middle of a dessert plate, garnish with the raspberries and syrup and serve.

E qui sotto in Italiano!

11 February 2013

How to make a light dessert :Chocolate Jelly

I love chocolate. Dark Chocolate.And I love to make light desserts: after a nice meal dessert should be like an evanescent cloud just passing by, leaving a sweet memory .Some years ago I bought a book on agar-agar : I won't mention the author ,as I soon realised that she did not tested the recipes .But I found a new ingredient ,very interesting for its healthy properties so I searched for a milligram scale and began to test. Almost all the recipes containing agar-agar will tell you :a coffee spoon etc....but if you want be sure of results better to use a scale . One day I found here the recipe of a chocolate jelly and I immediately tried it . This was 3 years ago and this dessert has become one of my best-seller has a personal chef . Yes, I re-made the recipe to suit my taste , I tried differents proportions of agar-agar and this is the final result of all my experimentations . With a dessert like this you can indulge !And you can keep it some days in the fridge ,covered . Very useful when you have guests !

Ingredients for 6 big servings or 12 small ones 

200 gr of dark chocolate 70%
500 ml of  fresh milk
A  pinch of  fleur de sel
A  pinch of grounded ginger
gr  of agar-agar
200 gr of sugar ,200 ml of water  and 8 tonka beans a for the syrup or a spoon of  chopped fresh ginger
Cut the chocolate in small pieces, put all the other ingredients in a sauce pan  and bring to boil  , pay attention when milkc omes to boil you’ll have to stir for a minute . Then  turn off the fire and  pour the chocolate into the mixture .Wait  3/4   minutes and then you can mix it well till all the chocolate is dissolved . Pour in the silicon moulds  ( or in cups )and then in the fridge to cool . For the syrup : bring to boil water,sugar and the tonka beans ( or the ginger )and let cook slowly till the syrup thickens  and begin to make  bubbles You can taste it  for consistence , it should not be too liquid . Use the syrup to garnish the jelly

If you’d like  to make  also the white chocolate jelly you can use the same recipe but  instead than 2 gr of agar-agar you’ll use  2,2 gr (seems like nothing but it makes a difference) though if you want make both it’s better to divide the dose  in two  so  200 ml of milk ,50 ml of cream, 1 gr of agar-agar and 100 gr of dark chocolate . For the white one  1,1 gr of agar-agar.

9 January 2013

How to make risotto with truffles

Last Friday I gave the first cooking-class of the year , and the very first one as “Venise en Provence ” the Cookery School I’m going to open next springtime on the top of the hill in Goult .
As my house isn’t ready yet I went to the one my students rented for their holidays :the Bastide at the “Mas de Rosemarie” (here the kitchen) a very beatiful hamlet near Joucas and Gordes.

PC300152 (Copier)
My clients , a lovely young couple of Americans asked me a lesson about truffles : January is a good month for this so I proposed a menu with truffles from the beginning to the end . They have three children so we cooked for five and even if the youngest boy did not appreciated so much the taste of truffles he loved the dessert , a truffled chocolate jelly .

The menu was :

Risotto with truffles  
Tenderloin cooked in claryfied butter with Truffles on the top
Radicchio di Treviso Salad (here you can know everything about this vegetable)
Roasted Potatoes
White chocolate Jelly with Truffles
So…. the Risotto and some photos of the market of truffles in Menerbes .

Picnik collage3
Picnik 5

Picnik collage6

Risotto with Truffles

Ingredients for 4 servings as a main dish , as a starter you can make half the dose
400 gr of Carnaroli Rice
2 liters of vegetable broth
40 gr of black truffle
50 ml of Prosecco or a good white wine
30 gr of good quality fresh butter
1 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 grains of freshly  grounded  pepper : a white Sarawak for example or a Kappad ( some peppers have an “animal” smell , here we prefer something more herby and fresh just to give a spicy note without overwhelming the truffle)

Making the broth is very simple : pour 2 liters of water in a stock pot, add 2 coffee spoons of sea salt, 1 leek, a rib of celery without the green leaves, a carrot ,a parsnip ( that gives a very good taste) . You can add other vegetables ,herbs or spices  though this is just a basic broth with a light taste that you can use for so many things .Let simmer gently for about 45 minutes and that’s all . Done! To make risotto keep your broth warm .
Now : pour the oil in a pan ( I recommend something heavy ,the best is copper or a very good quality  non-stick one ) and when it’s warm throw the rice and stir gently till the grains become translucent ,then add the Prosecco ,mix and begin to add the broth . This is important : add one laddle at a time and stir ,when the broth is absorbed add another one . Cooking the rice will take about 18 minutes so after 15 mn it’s better to taste it . In the meantime you’ll have grated half of the truffles and cut very finely the rest . When your rice is almost cooked ( I mean it should be “al dente” ) add the grated truffled and mix well.Now you are ready to  give the final touch : this is very important . Follow me : you’ll have the butter, the Parmigiano, and the pepper ready at your side,  your risotto is “al dente", good ! If you like it creamy and not dry add one ladle of broth , it should be a little bit more liquid than the way you like it. Stir. Turn off the fire. Now  add  the butter, the pepper and the Parmigiano ,mix well : this is the way to get that ‘creamyness’ people like in Risotto. Cover and wait  2 minutes before serving with the rest of sliced truffles on top . Bon Appetit ! Hey...wait a minute : and the chocolate jelly ? Coming soon !

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